23 Oct 2019, 13:32
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany achieves breakthrough in sluggish grid expansion effort - agency

Clean Energy Wire

By finishing the planning procedure for a stretch of its high-voltage SuedOstLink transmission line, Germany has achieved "an important step for the energy transition's implementation”, according to Jochen Homann, head of the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). The 83 kilometre-long section will be laid underground and connect the federal states of Thuringia and Bavaria. Due to persistent protests against the large infrastructure project, also known as the "transmission highway", the BNetzA consulted with citizens and local authorities to find consensus on the transmission line's exact route. "The quick decision is a huge step forward in building the direct current lines that are indispensable for the energy transition," Homann said. Commissioning is planned for 2025. German economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier called the decision a "key achievement” that shows measures taken to accelerate lagging grid expansion are working.

The expansion of Germany's power grid needed to transport renewable power from Germany's windy north to industrial centres in the south is one of the energy transition's greatest current challenges. In August, the BNetzA said progress was still "not as fast as necessary", with construction of about 6,600 kilometres of transmission lines outstanding.

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